The man who fatally gunned down a single mother at a Langford duplex in March 2020 thought she was somebody else, according to an agreed statement of facts presented at his sentencing hearing Monday.
Anthony Singh Dheensaw, 38, pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of Angela Dalman last month.
Dheensaw entered court smiling at family members Monday, wearing thick black glasses. Family and friends of Dalman’s were visibly upset, some crying, as he walked in.
Details that were not yet known about Dalman’s murder were revealed in an admission of facts at the hearing, including the fact that he mistook the single mother for another woman when he fired fatally shot her.
Dheensaw had been staying with Derrick Oke and Kelly Groves, who were living at the duplex located at 845 Arncott Ave. in Langford.
On the morning of March 6, Dheensaw, who had been doing large amounts of cocaine, was asked to leave because Oke and Groves were moving. When he didn’t leave, Oke enlisted friends to remove him from the house, some of whom assaulted him in the process.
He left the home at 5 p.m. and returned to a trailer he was previously staying at, located at 2500 Florence Road, and told the person he was staying with Ronald Brand, that he’d been robbed of drugs, jewelry and money. At some point, he took a rifle from the main bedroom of the trailer and left with Brand, who lived in the trailer, at 9:22 p.m.
Meanwhile, Dalman arrived at Oke and Groves’ duplex at 9 p.m. to say goodbye because they were moving.
At around 9:35 p.m., Dheensaw showed up at the residence once again, getting out of the car holding the gun. Dalman was near her own car, presumably to get something from it.
Dheensaw admitted that he mistook Dalman for Groves because they had a similar stature, hair colour and length, firing two shots at her, the second hitting her right shoulder and causing her to fall to the ground.
Oke came outside moments later, and Dheensaw fired twice at him, missing him both times.
Oke then ran through the back of the house, grabbed a knife, saw Dalman and began to provide CPR, while his friend fled the scene on foot. Dalman was rushed to hospital, arriving at Victoria General at 9:57 p.m., but showed no signs of life as she arrived and was declared dead.
Dheensaw drove back to the trailer, staying inside for 22 minutes, then drove away. There was no evidence of what Dheensaw did afterward, and he was arrested the next morning.
The gun used in the shooting has not been located to this day.
VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENTS
A number of people whose lives were impacted by the murder also spoke in court Monday.
Austin Cox, Dalman’s son, said she was “the best mother I could ever ask for,” adding that her death made him completely lose all motivation.
“My mental health went down…it’s hard to think of the future without her,” he said. “If I have kids, they will never know her, and they will never know the wonderful person she was.”
Tyee Campbell, Oke’s son, was 12 at the time it happened and could hear the gunshots from a neighbour’s home.
“I cannot handle to hear loud sounds, I’m scared to be alone,” he said.
Kristy Dalman, Angela’s sister, explained that she has suffered from random panic attacks since the murder.
“I am now older than my older sister. It’s a terrible, sickening feeling,” she said. “[Dheensaw] robbed her of everything.”
Dheensaw issued his own statement late in the day, apologizing to friends and family of Dalman’s.
“To everybody here today and everybody who knew Angela Dalman, I want to say how deeply sorry I am. To the court I vow to never be involved in something like this again,” he said.
The judge did not render a sentence Monday, holding the decision over until Tuesday.
However, Dheensaw will automatically receive a life sentence considering he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, but the judge will decide when he will become eligible for parole.
Both Crown and the defence have jointly submitted a sentence of life with no parole for 14 years, and for an attempted murder charge against Oke that Dheensaw pled guilty to, they’re asking for nine years.
Dheensaw has been in jail for the murder since March 7, 2020. He’s also had an extensive criminal history, convicted of 16 crimes including four violent offences, including assault of a police officer, and was under conditions to abstain from alcohol and drugs as well as a firearm ban at the time of Dalman’s murder.
DHEENSAW’S PERSONAL HISTORY
Dheensaw’s defence says this tragedy is two-fold.
Garen Arnet-Zargarian told the court that Dheensaw was a hard working pipefitter who’d managed to buy his own property, spending days working, nights and weekends studying at Camosun and BCIT to further his education.
Aside from a few brushes with the law, Arnet-Zargarian says everything changed for Dheensaw in the spring of 2014 when he started experiencing symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
“He was powerless to prevent the erosion of his physical and cognitive health,” said Arnet-Zargarian.
Unable to find a mix of drugs that worked, his family believes he turned to street drugs to cope, specifically cocaine. Between 2017-2019 the family believes Dheensaw’s usage progressed to full blown addiction and selling.
With files from CHEK’s Kori Sidaway